Two months ago, I packed my entire life up into my Honda Civic and drove across the country to finally close this damn distance between Taylor and I. I insisted to my mom, who came along for the ride so I wouldn’t get mugged or kidnapped, that I wanted to drive the entire way. I savored every mile that got me closer to him.
Freaking out is an understatement. I am officially two months out from picking up my entire life, moving it across the country and I am a complete melting pot of emotion. One minute I’m thrilled to move and looking up decorations on Pinterest and ten minutes later I’m driving to work teary-eyed.
I’ve known for quite a while now that I am an anxious person and to combat that, I have to take things slowly, make lists and get shit done one step at a time. I’ve really taken this move as an opportunity to re-create life, get rid of all the clutter, all the old clothes, jobs, memories and things that no longer serve a purpose to my life.
That’s the date I want to finally close the gap between me and Taylor.
To Whom It May Concern,
“And everyone I talk to out here says to just end it now because these relationships never work.”
My heart, filled with anger and sadness, sank to the bottom of my gut after reading what my boyfriend had just texted me.
You told him that I wouldn’t be able to handle the 4,000 miles between us. I won’t be able to handle his busy schedule you said. It is a guarantee that I will cheat you said. Because I chose to not move in with him the relationship will surely fail you said.
I realize, that to the military, I am nothing. Not his family. Not his wife. I am just a girlfriend. I do not matter to the United States military.
Of this, I am fully aware.
But shame on you for assuming what kind of woman I am. Shame on you for filling my boyfriend’s head with worry and his heart with sadness.
And while I am filled with hurt, I also have gratitude towards you. Thank you for putting a fire in my heart and a determination in my soul to make this distance work.
Watch me handle deployments with grace and love. Watch me have the patience and understanding to deal with our differing work schedules. I hope you get to witness the care packages he will get along with the constant flow of emails, letters and funny cards. I had the strength to stay back home so I could enhance my career and finish my schooling so that I wouldn’t have to rely on the military for money. So, watch me not cheat on him or use him for his military paycheck because I took the time to establish myself.
And, unfortunately, while what you keep driving into his head has an impact what I have to say to him has a greater one. Little do you know how strong my boy is and how much love he has for me.
You bringing our relationship down gave me the opportunity to relive with him all the beautiful memories that we have had, the ones that have made us laugh until we cried. And with those memories came the pictures: the happiest pictures of us on our anniversary, that one that I made a stupid face by the river, pictures from every single graduation he has had. All to remind him that even when we were thousands of miles apart we were never truly far from each other.
So, I thank you. For you made us stronger and you sparked a passion in me to be the best “girl back home” that I can be.
A dedicated and strong military girlfriend
There is no denying that distance is hard and I would be silly if I told you that I have found a way to deal with it completely. I haven’t. But I have found ways to bring comfort during those times when I feel like my heart is literally tearing in my chest, those nights that I toss and turn and can’t fall asleep.
1.Grow yourself a support system
I think of my support system as a circle. The reasoning for that is because none of them come before the other and they are all there for different kinds of support. I have my parents, friends, Taylor, his family, military girlfriend Facebook groups, I have pen pals I write to and of course I have His First Mate and the community that comes with that. My family and friends are there for physical support like hugs and an actual listening ear, etc. Taylor and his family are on there for the obvious reason that he knows better than anyone else what I am going through. I have my military Facebook groups in case I have questions or just need to see that I am not alone in this. And of course, I have His First Mate as my outlet to express myself and help others.
Make a circle for yourself. Maybe yours looks different and that’s okay. Keep that circle someplace safe where you can look at it whenever you need to. Some good places are your wallet, a drawer at work or hung up in your room.
2. Become a Hoarder
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend this but desperate times call for desperate measures. Be a hoarder of everything that is your significant other. I can’t even tell you how many hoodies, t-shirts and blankets that I have of Taylor’s (some he may or may not know that I even have but that can be our secret). These things are pieces of Taylor and some still have his smell which is a huge comfort to me in times where I feel like I’m falling apart. And not to mention, men’s clothes are significantly more comfortable than anything in the women’s department.
Below is a list of things you can ask to borrow from your significant other:
-Bottles of cologne/perfume
-Blankets, pillows, stuffed animals
-Any clothing items
-Mix tapes they have or create for you
-Keychains they have
3. Have Christmas in July
Not having Taylor here for holidays absolutely kills me. With Taylor’s first deployment coming up, I have made a list of every holiday that we will miss together. When he comes home in the next couple of weeks, we plan on celebrating every single one: Christmas, Valentine’s Day, both of our birthdays and a close friend’s birthday and Thanksgiving. It will literally be Christmas in July.
I think what gets me most is looking on Facebook during holidays and seeing all these other happy couples spending time together. Take lots of pictures during these “holidays” that you’ve created together so you can post them to Facebook or look at them whenever the actual holiday rolls around. My other piece of advice is to just stay off of social media as much as possible during holidays.
4. Save letters and text messages
Be a hoarder of their items and be a hoarder of their words. It helps a lot to hear their own voice and words come through a page to comfort you.
When Taylor deploys, I am asking him to write me some “Open When” (read what these are here!) for me to read when I get upset or I miss him, etc. so I have that handy.
5. Make a Deployment Bucket List
Stay busy! One thing that I like about military/long-distance relationships is that I get a lot of time to work on myself and my dreams. So, make a list for you! This keeps you busy and always gives you something to look forward to.
What are things you have a ways wanted to do? You can add in things that you like doing but haven’t done in a while. When you are feeling down or feel like you have nothing to keep you busy, turn to this list.
Holidays are known for couple activities; Ice skating dates, drinking hot chocolate by the fire, going to the city to see the Christmas lights and have dinner and the list goes on. But it’s kind of a strange position to be in during the holidays when you’re a military SO.
Every so often me and Taylor will go through periods of time where literally all we do is fight. Really I think every couple goes through these periods of time every now and then. If you didn’t argue here and there the relationship would not be healthy.
Over the years of many toxic relationships I have gained a little arsenal of ways to effectively communicate things to someone. However, becoming a Navy girlfriend forced me to use the tools I had gained more often. Expressing your feelings and putting in words exactly what you want from someone is rough stuff when you are thousands of miles away. Because of this, I had to learn more tools and ways to express myself that weren’t necessarily how I would’ve handled an argument in a regular old relationship.